Monday, January 9, 2012

Styling a Bookcase 101

Ok I know I said I was going to share this last week, but the week really got away from me! So I took some photos this morning and I am prepared to give you a full tutorial on 'How to Style a Bookcase'. I am going to take you step by step through how I styled my new bookcase and give you tips on how you can style yours! (if you didn't get a chance to read about our beautiful $250 custom bookcase you can read the post here

Ok here it is!

This bookcase is filled with items I already owned. It is a collection of books I had stashed away in a closet, small decor items, office supplies, photos, candles, etc. I literally spent an entire afternoon working on it until I liked the placement of everything. When styling a bookcase you have to work through trial and error. I make piles of all the things I want to use on the floor and separate them into categories. i.e books, decor, picture frames, supplies, etc. I then started with my inspiration for the entire room which you will see on the top middle shelf. The tall blue and white geometric print decor. I am basing the entire room around them, so I wanted them to have a prominent spot in the bookcase. From there I spaced the middle shelves and then made sure the outer shelves were symmetrical to one another. This way the bookcase doesn't have the same horizontal lines running all the way across.

One feature I love about this bookcase is how we left off the cheap backer board to allow the blue paint behind to show through. This gives such great contrast to all of the decor and books on the shelves.

I then began to play with all the items I had to style with. You can start on any shelf really. Here are my top 10 styling tips you can follow when styling your own shelves:

1. Place your books going different directions. Stack some horizontally and stand some vertically. Place some in the middle and some on the ends.

2. ALWAYS work in odd numbers! Treat each shelf as its own little area and try to have an odd number of groupings on that shelf.

3. Use a mixture of textures. Wood, metal, glass, etc.

4. Think outside the box and use things as something other than they were meant for. i.e. wooden balls as book ends.

5. Take paper covers off of books!! Almost all paper covers have a bright glossy cover. When you remove them, a beautiful, solid color, hard back book is revealed! Even the dollar store sells books that are GORGEOUS when you take the covers off!

6. Bookshelves aren't just for stacking books. Lean pieces of art, a diploma, a pin board, along the back.

7. Work in scales. Think about height and style each shelf using something tall, short, fat, skinny, etc. Then ask yourself, "Does it look balanced?"

8. Make it personal. Add photos that have meaning to your family. I remembered that over 7 years ago my husband and I took our first beach trip together and he had written 'Justin hearts Jennifer in the sand and I took a photo of it. I tracked down the disc with the photo on it, had it printed, and placed it in a frame. Now it has heartfelt meaning to my family as well as a beachya feel for the style of the space!

9. Make it functional. The small chests you see in my bookcase are filled with office supplies. Rubber bands, pens, tape, staples, sticky notes, etc. Such a great way to make it look beautiful on the outside, yet completely functional on the inside!

10. Give little 'nods' to the style you are going for. Our home has a Hamptons/Beachy feel so I added little seashells and rope here and there. This helps to tie the bookcase into your overall design of the space.

Have fun with it! Start with one shelf at a time and play with it until you LOVE it. Then move onto the next one. Normally once I love a shelf, I won't touch it again. I won't take anything from it to help style another shelf. It becomes off limits! LOL. And remember to 'shop' your house! I know I am always saying this, but you'd be surprised what you have in other rooms that might be perfect on your bookcase!

Here are some close ups of a few of my favorite shelves...

(above) For this shelf, I bought a $6 glass vase at Home Goods and 10ft of large rope at Home Depot, $6. I just wrapped the rope into the vase and voila! You have something that has both texture and interest. I also placed a silver shell paper weight on top of the book. Notice how I have an odd number of groupings (3); a vase, a shell, a stack of books.

This is a close up of the small chest that I am so beautifully hiding my rubber bands in! Only $8 at Hobby Lobby!

(above) For this shelf, I needed something to balance out the height of the two large decor items that were my inspiration for the room. I had an ugly canvas sitting in the garage that I had bought in clearance for 25 cents!! It was so inexpensive because it had this horrible print on it, but I bought it knowing I could cover it with fabric. I had some burlap left over from Christmas and I just wrapped it around the canvas and used a staple gun to secure it in the back. I then trimmed it out with some nail heads to give it a border. I found a few beachy photos online and printed them at Walmart (Walmart prints in matte for only a few cents). Now I have a great looking pin board that is not only functional but inspirational!

On this shelf, I decided to display my diploma. When framing anything I recommend always using matting. A lot of frames come with it, but if they don't, you can buy it for only a few dollars at any craft store. Matting helps to frame in the photo or document. Notice how on this shelf I really played with a variation in height and now it looks balanced.

On this shelf I used wicker balls as book ends. They really aren't even heavy enough to hold the books, but the books are sturdy enough to stand on their own and therefore the balls give the illusion that they are bookends!

One thing I always tell people when they are working on a styling project is if you don't love it, then its probably not quite right. Keep playing with it until YOU love it. There are no rules, no right and wrong. It's whatever makes you feel good about your space! I hope this tutorial will help any of you working on a project like this. It doesn't just have to be a large bookcase like this either. It can be an entertainment center, free floating shelves on the wall, a dresser, etc. Use my 10 styling tips for all flat surfaces you are decorating in your home!

No comments:

Post a Comment